Many researchers are now asking the subjects of their study, not to be subjects, but participants.
Amongst other things, this is an attempt at making the whole process of research a more equal relationship - so that research participants get a say in how they are represented and in what data is used. They may also even help to design the research tool - such as put together the questions for interviews and so on. Researchers might otherwise risk representing participants in ways they are not happy with - or indeed which misrepresent them (this is an abuse of power imo).
More and more researchers are also using visual data as part of their research evidence - for example, giving people cameras to record aspects of their lives or to present the way they see things.
I love the site Duckrabbit as it shows what can be achieved when people are shown ways of representing themselves through words and images. Here the work is described as journalism - but there is sometimes a fine line only between ethnographic research and sensitive journalism which seeks to document people's lives rather than sensationalise.
Maybe the researcher and their participants will then look at the films as if pure data and discuss what they show. However I don't believe in 'pure data' and so think discussion between researcher and participants - around what is ahown and what is not, would be very fruitful.
Interesting also to wonder, is what is the effect on research participants of making their own films? How does the process of making the films affect (or not) the way they see themselves and their lives? And is this the same as the effect of the final product? (Does the product reflect what it was intended to?) Can the research process be transformative or therapeutic? Asking and thinking about these questions takes the research on a stage further.